Thanks to support from DHL Express, we’re delighted to bring our business skills training mobile app, HerVenture, to women entrepreneurs in Kenya.
COVID-19 is drastically changing the way we live and work and pushing us further into a digital world. To survive, many businesses across the world find that they too must move online, and in emerging economies mobile technology is proving to be a lifeline for small businesses. Without it, many entrepreneurs face losing their businesses altogether, which stands to have severe knock-on impacts on families, communities and economies.
What is HerVenture?
HerVenture is the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s mobile learning app that supports women entrepreneurs to access the skills, confidence and networks they need to grow their businesses. It provides essential training and support, enabling users to learn ‘on the go’. Developed specifically for women who own small and medium enterprises in low and middle income countries, the app is currently available in Vietnam, Indonesia, Nigeria and now, thanks to support from DHL Express, Kenya.
The app features seven learning ‘tracks’ on a range of needs, including launching a business, product innovation and expanding market access, and a new track focusing on e-commerce.
Based on user input, the app suggests a personalised learning roadmap for each entrepreneur. Content is provided in bite-sized, easily digestible formats such as swipe-able cards, quizzes and videos. Static content can also be accessed offline. The app allows users to find and connect with each other, as well as learn about local business events. So far, since its launch in 2018, HerVenture has been downloaded by and provided training to over 23,000 women, with huge benefits to local communities and economies, which is set to be scaled within Kenya.
HerVenture is available to Kenyan women entrepreneurs now, on Android through the Google Play Store.
Coming to Kenya
Kenya was selected as the next country to benefit from the availability of HerVenture following a needs assessment conducted in 2019. After further market research, adaptations to challenges emerging as a result of the pandemic and the accompanying need to move business online, and localisation for audiences in Kenya, it launches with a new e-commerce learning track to support women entrepreneurs with business digitisation through COVID-19. It aims to reach 1,000 women entrepreneurs in Kenya and help transform their micro, small and medium businesses into thriving and sustainable enterprises.
Investing in women entrepreneurs plays a crucial role in supporting Kenya’s 2030 vision of becoming a middle income nation by 2030. 49% of micro and small businesses are women owned – more than in any other East African country – yet women own only 9% of medium sized enterprises, suggesting they find it difficult to transition from small-scale. The African Development Bank also identifies that gender-based challenges restrict women’s progress.
A lack of adequate training programmes and information, problems accessing finance and restrictive socio-cultural norms are limiting the success of women’s businesses in Kenya. Women need tailored, flexible support to overcome these challenges, and the World Bank suggests mobile technology could help provide this support, offering easy access to services.
Sub-Saharan African economies lose nearly $100 billion a year because of the gender gap in the labour market. However, if businesses come together to support women entrepreneurs in response to this pandemic, we can take this as an opportunity to rebuild economies. As such, we are delighted to continue to support the enormous contributions that women entrepreneurs make to their communities and economies, in Kenya and beyond, and help steer towards a more equal, secure and prosperous future.
— Cherie Blair CBE QC, Founder, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
What more can be done?
The app launched with an exclusive virtual launch event, asking what businesses can do now to support women entrepreneurs in Kenya, across the African continent and globally, to digitise their businesses and position them to thrive in the new, digital world, post-pandemic. It also looked at and how using HerVenture can help women entrepreneurs to navigate the ‘new normal’.
Hosted by Andrew Mutuma, Country Manager, DHL Express Kenya, audiences also heard from:
- Cherie Blair CBE QC, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
- Professor Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary for the Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, Kenya
- Helen McEachern, CEO, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women
- John Pearson, CEO, DHL Express
- Hennie Heymans, CEO, DHL Express, Sub-Saharan Africa
- Sola Babatunde, CEO, OSC School of Fashion, a woman entrepreneur from Nigeria who has used HerVenture to develop her business and who will talk through the use of the app and its many benefits
You can watch this exclusive webinar now:
HerVenture is highly scalable and adaptable. The Foundation is actively seeking funding partnerships to enable the app to launch in, but not limited, to Rwanda, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Tanzania and Mozambique, with each iteration carefully adapted for a local context. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss potential partnerships!